Minecraft Meets the HandPan - Aria Math, by C418

While the majority of us most likely discovered the sounds of HandPan through a YouTube video shared online, or perhaps through live performance, people continue to discover the sounds of UFO-shaped singing steel, in all manner of places.  

Even if you're not much of a gamer, you've probably heard of Minecraft, and know somebody who does, or has, played it.  Lego-esque, with some survival-strategy, and more, thrown in, Minecraft, is, inarguably, one of this generations stand-out video-game success stories - selling 54 Million copies, to date, and counting.  And Minecraft is becoming increasingly responsible, for introducing the sounds of HandPan, to a whole new audience...

Heard this while playing Minecraft. I've never bought a song based on a video game before, but this one is such a masterpiece I had to pick it up!’, said one fan of the track titled, “Aria Math”, a prominent song featured within the Minecraft soundtrack, that features the sound of HandPan (sampled most likely - but hey!).  And with hundreds of others claiming Aria Math as their favourite Minecraft track, over at YouTube, you know that the Pan is a large part of what is making this a stand-out tune for many of these listeners, when many comment on the songs ability to evoke feelings of “sadness”, yet also “joy” simultaneously - a notable quality of the HandPan’s sound.

Produced by the German musician known as, “C418”, Aria Math features on the soundtrack, “Minecraft - Volume Beta”.  Which is the second Minecraft soundtrack produced by C418 (the first being Volume Alpha). All-in-all, Volume Beta features 30 tracks, and is 141 minutes in length.  And should you be looking to grab yourself a copy for your MP3 player of choice, to bring the sounds of Minecraft with you into the “real world”, you can find it available for sale over at Amazon: HERE

HandPan Accompaniment: Spotlight on the Singing Saw

Following on from our post on Cas Cas (the percussive instrument favored by Daniel Waples), we continue with what may become a series turning the spotlight on to some of our favourite HandPan accompaniments, with this post on the “Singing Saw”.  And if any instrument, is as equally deserving, in our opinion, of wearing the “Singing Steel” label.  It has to be the Singing Saw.  In fact, the Singing Saw, is also credited, along with such instruments as the Ghatam, and Gamelan, as instruments that were researched by PANArt - leading to the development of the Hang.

Introduced to us by the legendary Dante Bucci, one of the original pioneers of the Hang / HandPan music scene, the Singing Saw, is a beautiful sounding instrument (in our opinion at least), of the idiophone class. More specifically defined as a “Friction Idiophone” - a group of instruments that produce sound by being rubbed either against each other or by means of a non-sounding object (usually a violin bow, in the case of the Singing Saw). Instruments of this type are not very common, possibly the best known examples are the Singing Saw (also known as a “Musical Saw”), and the Nail Violin.

Ethereal, and somewhat melancholic, perhaps strangely, the sound of the Singing Saw often reminds us of “La vie en rose” - by Edith Piaf - but perhaps that’s just us.  And while saws produced specifically for musicians are offered for sale, many musical sawists often simply use standard wood cutting saws, to produce their music. And Dante, was a master of blending these two exquisite singing steel instruments perfectly.  

So that while Dante Bucci, may have tragically passed away mid-2014 - he left behind him a legacy of awesomeness, that will, no doubt, continue to move both HandPan, and Musical Saw performers, to experiment, and push boundaries, for as long as the internet remains...

Other renowned performers on the musical saw include:

Natalia Paruz (AKA: “The Saw Lady”)...

And, Charles Hindmarsh (AKA: "The Yorkshire Musical Saw Player")...

(!) Want to have a try yourself?  Musical saws can be purchased over at Amazon: HERE

A Rainbow of First Generation PANArt Hang Bags

If the carrying bags / cases that came with first generation PANArt Hang are not already artefacts of interest, no doubt one day, they will be.  Made from a coarse material, with only a small amount of padding on the Ding side, these bags, were not the sturdiest bags ever made.  And knowing that there are already a lot of first-gen owners out there who do not have these original bags (with many dieing from general wear-and-tear), if anything, these carrying cases are now even rarer, than the Hang they were designed to transport.

Complete with two carrying handles, a shoulder strap, and emblazoned with an embroidered PANArt logo patch, arguably, the most interesting thing about these bags, is the almost excessive (but kind of awesome) array of colours in which they were made available.  

First generation PANArt Hang carry bags were available in the following colours:

  • Green
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Gray
  • Yellow

And you can check out some pictures of them in their different shades below...

* I have not been able to find a picture of a green bag at time of posting.  I will add one when / if I can find one.

[Update] Joan, of Anuah, sent us pictures of a green bag (many thanks)...

* The above green bag has been converted backpack-style, which is pretty cool, but is not truly representative of a first generation bag - great example of the colour though.  :)

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